For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed novelist-playwright-screenwriter-non-fiction writer Suzanne Trauth. She is currently working on a three volume, e-book mystery series coming out in July 2016. For more information about Sue Click here
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
Currently I am working on an e-book mystery series called the Dodie O’Dell Mystery Series. I signed a contract with Kensington Publishing for the initial three books in the series with a July 2016 release. So, I am copyediting the first, revising the second, and thinking about the third! The first book is called Show Time. It’s about Dodie O’Dell, who has moved to quiet, cozy Etonville, New Jersey to escape the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and start a new life as a restaurant manager. But mayhem erupts at the Etonville Little Theatre and a man is murdered, the hunky police chief is new to small town life, and Dodie must solve the mysteries before the show can go on! The series focuses on Dodie solving mysteries while she juggles managing a restaurant and helping out at the Etonville Little Theatre. The innerworkings of theatre rehearsal and production figure prominently in every book. I am also spending some time learning about marketing my work, social networking and branding.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
I’ve been a mystery reader all my life — from Agatha Christie to more contemporary authors such as Elizabeth George. I’d finished writing a different novel that took 10 years to complete and decided I wanted to write something just for fun. I’d always thought about a mystery story and when I sat down to put “pen to paper,” the characters and plot pretty much flowed out. Of course, the revisions took another couple of years!
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
Because I write in several genres, I suppose I have a number of artistic heroes: Janet Evanovitch and Elizabeth George as mystery writers; playwrights Tracy Letts and Lynn Nottage. Screenwriters Todd Haynes and Phyllis Nagy. I also really appreciate Shonda Rhimes and Nancy Meyers for creating their own, successful artistic worlds.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
Time! I feel as if I have so many stories to tell and need the time to get them all out of my system. I’m an impatient writer …
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I have several new plays – Francoise, Midwives, Rehearsing Desire – in development that have had public readings, with another coming in March. I am also involved in an educational video series that is still being born. When I need a break from one project, I switch to another.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
When I feel contented in my gut, really happy, I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I feel as if I waited awhile to live my vision and now that I am doing it, every day I can work is a gift.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Writing screenplays in Hollywood. I worked with a life coach a number of years ago and she had me write out my dream moment at Oscar time. It was fun … I read it periodically.
I would also see my plays in full productions and my first novel (not yet published) in the window of a bookstore!
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
Early on it was time and self-confidence. But even now when things are working well, there is always that little voice in the back of my brain that questions my decisions, my choices.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I try to work every day. Just sitting in front of my computer helps to get the creative juices flowing. I have discovered, though, that I sometimes need an hour to sit and allow my mind to doodle and then write badly in order to connect to the deeper writer within, to my really creative self. It’s a way of getting the debris out of the way so that the inner gold can surface.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Second guessing myself. I have to work hard to allow myself to follow my instincts, to trust my inner artist.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
I love all of the Impressionists. For many years I was nearsighted and the world often appeared as a hazy, misty place, like an Impressionistic painting. They are romantic, suggestive of worlds within worlds. I always gravitate toward that section of the Museum of Modern Art. Of course, I also love a great play (right now King Charles III) or a wonderful movie (Carol) that move me emotionally and intellectually.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
I come from a large family of high-achieving women. My mother and sisters have always been my inspiration, the objects of my admiration. I also admire great writers — Shakespeare! I’ve always been fascinated by Abraham Lincoln and included him in my first mystery novel.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
Generosity, largeness of spirit. Empathizing with others.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
It used to be sneaking to a quiet place to read mystery novels but now that I am writing those novels, I’d have to say chocolate.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Start writing. Every day. And don’t let anything get in your way. Even 30 minutes a day would have gotten me further along my path. Ignore the rejection … let it slide off your back.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
I love where I live now – northern New Jersey, 15 minutes from Manhattan. But I wouldn’t mind spending part of the year on a Caribbean island or somewhere warm on water.
Q: What is your idea of success?
First, feeling as if I am fulfilling my artistic goal which is to produce written work.
Second, sharing that work with the public, entertaining and enlightening readers and audiences.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Seeing my dreams come true and sharing those dreams with the people I love.
Q: Final Thoughts?
I am so grateful to have come to this point, where I am living a life I had only imagined years ago. But I would not have gotten here without the support of so many people. I feel that you never know when someone is going to appear in your life and accompany you down the path. I need to remind myself to keep my eyes open and stay alert for those folks!